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Thom Browne Doesn't Know That Much About the History of Fashion, Plus Other Tidbits From Our Chat at His Met Institute Talk

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283660(1).jpgThis past Wednesday, the Friends Of The Costume Institute celebrated designer Thom Browne's accomplishments in menswear with a Q&A conducted by Glenn O'Brien, the spruce, white-haired fashionisto most known for his "Style Guy" feature in GQ (and a former PAPER columnist), at the Met. The tête-à-tête, held in the museum's striking European Sculpture Court, touched on everything from Thom's beginnings (the designer admitted he thought more people would like the label when it first debuted) to if he ever wears anything that isn't a suit (Browne listed Nike shoes as running shorts as his only alternate attire, adding that he'd love to do an athletic line in the future).

Upon the evening's close, we had a chance to briefly talk to Thom about the live interview, his signature garb, and how people tend to read into his work.

A lot of questions people asked tonight tended to define your work for you -- is that strange to hear?

I like people to have their own take on it, whatever that is -- there's nothing worse than rules, and that's the reason I wanted to start my own thing in the first place, to get rid of rules.

It was also interesting how people seemed to be ready to disagree with you about the framework of your own clothes.

I'm not always the best person to talk to about [my work], because I don't think about it in the way other people do. I don't see the fashion in it a lot of times -- I never use specific references. Everyone wants to contextualize it somehow and that's fine. Sometimes I hear them, and I wish it was so intelligently inspired! I'm more instinctual -- so many people know the history of clothing better than I do.

Do you find this whole thing retrospective? It's interesting to speak about your career when you're nowhere near the end of it.

I get nervous initially because my life is just not that interesting. I mean, what I have to say, is it really that interesting? Sometimes I don't think so, but all I do is say what it is. I don't know,  look at this in a retrospective way -- I'm just talking about what I did, and there's so much more to do.


Photo by Carly Otness/BFAnyc.com

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